Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

My friends… a lifetime ago a good friend of mine called me to let me know that he’s seen what he considers the most amazing animation ever. The company I was working for had just gotten a couple of T1’s for their network, finally getting rid of modems to access this crazy fad called the Internet, so with my shackles cast aside I was free to go anywhere at any speed at any time. Outstanding. I don’t know where this cat sent me because it’s probably defunct now… but this is where I saw Jeff Lew’s revolutionary ‘Killer Bean’. Then a couple years back we get word that Mr. Lew was creating a feature length film for his creation in ‘Killer Bean Forever’ and thus it was with baited breath that we wait for the end result. Now a wait such as this does come with concerns because the Killer Bean short was only a few minutes long and quite honestly it’s not that hard to entertain somebody for a few of minutes. So the question is could Jeff Lew stretch out a seven short another 80 or so minutes and still make it fun to watch?

Similar to the short, ‘Killer Bean Forever’ starts at a raucous party at a some warehouse somewhere in Beantown where beans are tearing it up and getting down, but unfortunately for these beans, across the way Killer Bean is trying to sleep. He asks them politely to turn them music down, the scurrilous beans politely refuse and before you can say boo there’s a warehouse chock full of dead beans. But did Killer Bean murderize these beans simply because they wouldn’t turn their music down? Not so fast my friends.

Investigating the scene of this crime is grizzled cop Detective Cromwell and it’s not lost on the detective that the inhabitants of this scene of carnage, at least when they were alive, worked for Beantown’s top mobster Cappuccino. Another strange thing about this crime scene is that the perp left gold monogrammed shell casings all over the place letting everyone know who he is. Since the warehouse is owned by Cappuccino it’s no surprise Cappuccino’s ultra cool right hand man Vagan shows up on the scene to survey the damages. However when Cromwell questions Vagan he plays stupid, even though Cromwell is pretty sure he knows more than he is telling, and his boss Cappuccino is scared to death knowing that a lethal killer is hot on his tail. That is if beans had tails which I don’t think they do.

Meanwhile Killer Bean is getting closer to his target by killing hordes upon hordes of beans. But who is the target that Killer Bean is on the trail of? And what of this mysterious group called the Shadow Company that Killer Bean works for? And why has this Shadow Company dispatched the lethal Jet Bean to take down one of their own. All will be answered in good time.

So can a seven minute short be stretched into an 80 minute feature film? Why yes it can. But let me hip you to something. I’m watching this movie with a newly teenaged son who as it happens is a very literal person. He can’t quite comprehend why there are talking beans on the screen, I mean beans can’t talk so this makes no sense to him. Beans shooting and break dancing and doing kung fu really makes no sense. So I ask him does a talking bean make less sense than a talking dog that hunts ghosts with his drug addicted best friend and a turtle neck wearing lesbian? Now the boy is in a quandary because Scooby Doo is like his favorite show ever. He stands corrected.

But getting back to ‘Killer Bean Forever’, it is a stone cold trip this one. The amount of work that Lew had to put into pulling this movie off is mind boggling considering all of the elements that he put into his film. Car chases, shootouts galore, kung-fu fighting, break dancing and with all of it expertly animated and framed around a story that is… well… rudimentary at best. Also since its just two or three dudes handling the majority of the voice work in this movie the voice acting probably isn’t quite to the level of… say… Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks from ‘Finding Nemo’ for example.

All that being said this is a production that was basically created from start to finish from the blood sweat tears and pocket change of one very talented dude with a definitive vision. It’s a bean, it has guns made of gold and it kills almost indiscriminately. Believe me when I tell you that you can’t beat that with a stick and it beats the hell out ghost hunting talking dogs any day of the week.

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